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Richard Shannon Hoon (September 26, 1967 – October 21, 1995)

Richard Hoon was born in Lafayette, Indiana and started using his middle name to avoid confusion with his father, also named Richard. After high school graduation, Hoon joined a local glam metal band Styff Kytten. He was frontman and lead singer. In 1985, he left Indiana for Los Angeles. By 1990, Blind Melon had formed, had produced a demo tape and signed a recording contract with Capitol Records. He soon befriended his half-sister Anna’s high school friend, Axl Rose (you know of Guns N’Roses?). Hoon sang backup vocals on their albums Use Your Illusion 1 and Use Your Illusion II and even appeared in the music video for their single Don’t Cry. In 1992, Blind Melon released their self-titled debut album. They went on tour opening for the likes of (of course) Guns N’Roses, Ozzy Osbourne and Soundgarden.

In and out of rehab, constant touring and legal troubles led to a slight hiatus from touring in 1994 and they went to work in New Orleans on their followup album, Soup. It was released in 1995. In July 1995, Hoon became a father while in rehab (again). In August, Blind Melon was due to hit the road again to support Soup. A drug counselor was brought in to keep Hoon clean. His failure to do so saw him dismissed days before Hoon’s death. After a particularly disappointing show in Houston on October 20, Hoon went on an all-night drug binge. The next day, they were scheduled to appear in New Orleans. The sound engineer tried to awaken Hoon for a sound check. Hoon was pronounced dead at the scene from a cocaine overdose. Hoon was only 28 years old./p>

In November 1996, Blind Melon released their final album, Nico, a tribute to Hoon and all proceeds went to Hoon’s daughter Nico and to programs helping musicians deal with drug problems. In September 2008, a book A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon by Greg Prato was published.

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